Monday, October 13, 2008

I am writing to you because I trust you and your staff with the care of our children and I am hoping that my letter will be given more consideration than a phone call. I would have said something at the time of our visit, but I felt that my hurt and my anger would have controlled the conversation and I would not be able to convey rationally what I had intended..

Michael and I have been bringing our children Tyler & Emma to your practice since both were born. We trust the doctor’s that care for our children and for the most part have been completely satisfied with the treatment they have received over the last 4 years. We trust you so that our entire family, neices & Nephews, are seen by your practice.

To give a bit of background, I can’t recall when it was, but there was an appointment that both my children were seen at the same time by Dr. Granger. During that visit, my daughter, who was just an infant, received a series of shots, five of them. The nurse was a little bit rushed and abrupt with her and during the process of giving Emma her shots, bruised her by holding her down so tightly. There were 3 bruises from her hand restraining Emma. I had asked the nurse to be a bit more gentle and she was a bit argumentative about why she was holding Emma and how it was better to get it over with. I pointed the bruises out to Dr. Granger, but didn’t say anymore about it. I realized at the time that I had both children with me, so it was a bit chaotic, and let it go at that.

Then this morning, Tyler had his 4 year old check up. The same nurse, Sandy, came into give Tyler his shots. She saw that he was a bit upset and immediately started talking to him about why he needed shots, which would have been okay if the tone being set was one to calm a child’s fears down. Instead she said that Tyler needed to get his shots if he wanted to go to school, if he didn’t all the other boys and girls will get to go to the firehouse and the zoo and would turn around and say ‘bye Tyler, you can’t come, you didn’t get your shots!’. I can understand her intent, but she was sternly loud and her tone was more than a bit taunting.
Tyler became even more upset. She told me to sit on the table and hold his legs down with mine. I had wanted to remove his shirt but she told me she would just pull up the sleeve.

I guess it is common practice to hold the child down, but I thought I would atleast give him the chance instead of build him up for the “nasty shots”. Everything being done was building up for something and to a four year old, he didn’t understand, so he became even more scared.
She then told Tyler that if he didn’t sit still she would give give him twice as many shots, so instead of getting 3 he would have to get 6. I just didn’t understand why she was trying to scare him so much.

Of course Tyler didn’t want her to touch him. She taunted him when she came in, was loud and gave a presence of fear. And when giving him the shots he became scared and a bit hysterical. I asked her to be more gentle and not to pull him so, and again, she argued with me about the way she was administering the shots. And again, she left a bruise on my child’s arm from her hand gripping him so tightly.

I left the office feeling that my child had been a bit victimized. I am not one of those parents that don’t understand that sometimes things happen, but when it becomes consistant from the same nurse, I can’t just let that go.

I know that nurses do this day in and day out, and deal with screaming child after screaming child, but every child should be treated with a gentle hand and a kind voice. Not rush rush, scare scare. Maybe each visit will become less intimidating for them and over time they won’t be scared of shots at all.

When leaving the office, Tyler said to me, “Mommy that purple nurse isn’t allowed near me anymore, only the pink nurse can give me shots.” One nurse was wearing a pink shirt and the other a purple. My son was able to differentiate the nurses and which one had been ‘mean’ and which one had been kind. To me, that tells me, Tyler was genuinely scared of this nurse, and genuinely felt hurt by her.

I have been scared of shots all my life because of one doctor. One doctor made the difference but after Tyler was born, my son had more shots in his first year of life, I had no right to complain anymore. My son taught me how to be strong for him. He has shown me what real ‘life’ is and has become my hero in a sense.

I am asking that maybe someone speak to her and let her know that this is my child, and everyone walking through your doors thinks to themselves “this is my child”, “this child is my everything, my life”, to hurt my child, or to scare my child is unthinkable to me and so unexpected when walking through the doors of their pediatrician’s office.
I can’t emphasize enough how hurt we were today, hopefully my letter was enough to make a difference in this nurse’s approach. I know she wouldn’t be caring for children if she didn’t care for children. Hopefully she will take this to heart and become the nurse all the children will want to come to.


Ben said...

Hello, old friend. I’m going to start blogging again and wanted to let you know (providing you even remember me, I used to come here a lot). Hope all is well!

Ben (daydreamed)